Hard cider spent many decades lagging behind beer and wine in terms of popularity.

However, globalization has contributed to high single-digit growth in cider volumes over the past five years. Prior to that, cider was relatively rare, as it had a .02 percent market share in 2011, according to FiveThirtyEight. By 2014, this beverage reached a 1.2 percent market share with $366 million in sales. TheKitchn attributes this trend to cider’s refreshing fruit flavor, low alcohol content, and gluten-free composition. Cider can be found in most alcohol stores, restaurants and bars – with many companies jumping in to try and take advantage of the growing industry.

The Top Dog in Hard Cider

Woodchuck, introduced in 1991, faced little competition until Boston Beer entered the cider market. This company already saw groundbreaking success with its Samuel Adams craft beer. The Angry Orchard product line quickly became the household name for hard cider, taking 57 percent of the market share. Other companies may not match Boston Beer in sales, but their product lines and growth rates seem indicative of a positive future for the cider industry. Boston’s Harpoon Brewery plans on introducing Hibiscus Cider, a seasonal product, and Sonoma Cider is experimenting with a new sour cider. Sonoma’s hard cider volume increased from 63,000 cases in 2014 to over 100,000 cases in 2015 – yet another example of cider’s strong growth. Golden State Cider Company is also expanding its distribution plans.

How to Compete in the Hard Cider Market

This beer and malt flavored beverage segment hasn’t been around for long, but the industry is already dominated by competition. If you want to carve out space in the cider market, you need a comprehensive plan and plenty of resources. Displays, POS execution, and tap share need optimization to attract the growing cider-drinking population. Eye-catching products and brand awareness play a key role in success, so brands wishing to integrate this market need to pay attention to marketplace trends and changes.

Hard cider’s growth looks similar to the craft beer market, largely because the two industries have significant overlap. The two drinks are often used in the same recreational situations and offered at similar venues. While cider is far more popular in 2016 than it was in 2011, many beverage alcohol drinkers are not as educated about cider as beer and wine. Largely because the industry is so young, marketing should have a focus on educating consumers about the taste and appeal of cider, such as an inviting apple flavor.

For every business in a competitive landscape, understanding the competition is fundamental to ensuring growth. The cider market offers many opportunities, especially if you find a unique niche to start. Time, efficiency, and productivity must be maximized as you attempt to get your products on store shelves, served at restaurants, and on back bars. A mobile data collection app helps you streamline your operation and track your sales progress. With the right features, like picture upload capabilities, you can document and verify proper execution on-premise and off-premise. If there is a problem with POS, displays, or inventory, you need to fix it before it cuts into revenue. Research and find a solution to give you more insight and control into this process.

The hard cider market’s growth rate shows no sign of slowing down. Boston Beer dominates the market with Angry Orchard for now, but there is plenty of space to make a splash in the industry with the proper preparation and tools.

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